A picture of a man holding a bicycle wheel is never going to be that exciting to look at. Until you look carefully
As a wheelwright I am used to making and repairing wooden wheels, for carriages, early vintage cars, cannons, wheelbarrows, and recently a vintage bicycle, which was one I hadn’t considered before. Whilst doing research I came across a number of articles about modern wooden bicycle wheels, and even complete wooden bikes. Now some of these are awful, basic shapes cut out of ply, but some of them are serious craftsmanship, bordering on works of art.
After seeing the work of a craftsmen in japan I was inspired and set out to have a go and start by making a front wheel. Unfortunately whilst there are several websites showing examples of finished products I couldn’t find any information on how to make a one. so time for an experiment.
Several visitors to my workshop have been confused in that they were expecting a complete wheel made from wood, like a mini carriage wheel, which is how vintage bicycle wheels were made, whereas this is a modern wheel a thin wooden rim with metal spokes and hub and a pneumatic tyre, which I am assured will give me a smoother ride than the metal equivalent.
The rim I made from 5mm thick strips of beech wood laminated in a former, which to my amazement turned out to be remarkably pliable, and is a technique I can see all kinds of uses for, and many a sleepless hour has been spent thinking of possibilities, with two words, penny and farthing being the clue.
If you want some more how to make it info there is a video which will be posted soon.
What a feat of engineering! looks very smart with such a slender wooden rim.